PHOENIX (AP) — The NBA’s Pacific Division wasn’t the destination for many young projects during this year’s draft, though there was one extremely notable exception to that rule.

The Los Angeles Lakers used their No. 55 selection to select USC guard Bronny James, who will team with his dad LeBron in a historic father-son pairing. The 19-year-old James is certainly a project after scoring just 4.8 points per game in his only college season at USC, but it was impossible for the Lakers to ignore his bloodline.

Other than the James selection, the division’s teams were mostly interested in grown men who could help their teams right away.

The Sacramento Kings used the No. 13 selection to select Providence’s Devin Carter, a 22-year-old who averaged nearly 20 points per game during his final college season. The 6-foot-2 guard is considered a good defender, too, and could mesh well with the team’s other guards, including De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk.

The Lakers went for scoring with their No. 17 pick, adding Tennessee’s 23-year-old Dalton Knecht. The 6-foot-5 guard was one of the college game’s elite scorers last season, averaging nearly 22 points per game.

The Phoenix Suns did some manuvering during both days of the draft, trading the No. 22 selection to the Nuggets for the No. 28 pick, No. 56 pick and two more future second-round selections. Phoenix took Virginia wing Ryan Dunn at No. 28, giving the team a defensive standout to play with the team’s star trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

The Suns then flipped the No. 56 pick in another proposed trade, moving up to No. 40 and acquiring Marquette big man Oso Ighodaro. The athletic 21-year-old will have a chance to become Jusuf Nurkic’s backup immediately.

Golden State Warriors

Team need(s): The Warriors have the No. 52 selection in the second round on Thursday. In his second draft in charge as general manager, Mike Dunleavy is hoping to find an impact player like Trayce Jackson-Davis, who was the No. 57 selection last season. He turned into a key cog off the bench during his rookie year, averaging 7.9 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Who did the team draft: No one in the first round. The Warriors were working on a trade that would eventually bring Boston College center Quinten Post to Golden State. Post was taken with the No. 52 selection. The 7-footer has a great shooting touch and is the kind of floor-spacing big man that is coveted around the NBA.

Los Angeles Clippers

Team need(s): The Clippers are a team that could be in flux with stars Paul George and James Harden set to hit free agency. Any sort of infusion of young talent would be nice for an older roster.

Who did the team draft: No one in the first round. The Clippers added Minnesota wing Cam Christie with the No. 46 pick in the second. Christie is just 18 years old and could be a bit of a project, but was an Big Ten all-freshman selection during his only college season. He’s a dynamic shooter who adds youth to the NBA’s oldest team. His brother, Max, plays for the Lakers.

LA didn’t have a first-round pick because they traded it to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for George in 2019. It’s one of several picks they dealt for George to pair him with Kawhi Leonard in the hopes of winning the franchise’s first NBA championship. That hasn’t happened.

Los Angeles Lakers

Team need(s): A player who can contribute now as the Lakers attempt to make the most of their remaining partnership between LeBron James and Anthony Davis, particularly after they apparently whiffed last year on slow-developing guard Jalen Hood-Schifino. LA could use perimeter scoring and spot-up shooting, and it could also do with more size to help Davis.

Who did the team draft: Knecht. The SEC Player of the Year is a prolific scorer who grew into stardom during a winding journey that began with no Division I scholarship offers and ended with three increasingly impressive seasons with Northern Colorado and then Tennessee. It’s an open question whether the 6-foot-2 Bronny James is ready to contribute at the NBA level immediately, but it’ll certainly make dad happy.

Whose game does the first-round draft pick most compare to and why: Knecht was a near-consensus projected lottery pick whose outside shooting and overall style inspired parallels to everyone from Klay Thompson and Tim Hardaway Jr. to Jerami Grant and Terrence Ross.

Phoenix Suns

Team need(s): The Suns could use a point guard after struggling with turnovers last season, particularly in the fourth quarter. They also need perimeter defense and a backup big man.

Who did the team draft: After moving down six spots in the trade with Denver, the Suns took Dunn at No. 28. The 21-year-old is considered maybe the best defensive player in the draft, which is something the Suns needed. In the second round, the Suns got a potential backup big man at No. 40 after selecting Ighodaro, who grew up in the Phoenix area.

Whose game does the first-round draft pick most compare to and why: Dunn could be a player in the mold of New Orleans wing Herb Jones, who made the All-Defensive team last season in his third year in the league. Jones was the No. 35 selection in the 2021 draft.

Sacramento Kings

Team need(s): The Kings answered their biggest looming question ahead of the draft by resigning Monk to a four-year contract. Sacramento could use more size and athleticism and help on the wing to complement Harrison Barnes, who turned 32 in May. Keegan Murray and Trey Lyles — their other wings — are more spot-up shooters.

Who did the team draft: Carter should help plug some of their concerns. He averaged nearly 20 points per game last year and was billed as one of the best two-way players in the draft. He is an elite rebounder for his size, grabbing 8.7 boards per game as a smaller guard. He also improved from beyond-the-arc in each of his three collegiate seasons, shooting it at 37.7% from distance last year.

Whose game does the first-round draft pick most compare to and why: Carter’s prowess on both ends of the floor could fit the mold of the Boston Celtics’ Jrue Holiday, one of the premier two-way players in the NBA. Carter is versatile, contributes in nearly every facet of the game and could improve offensively if his college numbers project to the pro level.


AP Sports Writers Beth Harris, Janie McCauley, Greg Beacham and freelancer Eric He contribued to this report.